Re-Boot Your Life

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Re-Boot Your Life

I had the opportunity to re-visit the old haunt yesterday.  I was in Southern Colorado on assignment and ended up running head on into the most beautiful colors in the Cuchara and Weston areas.  We were fortunate to have lived in these Aspens and Pines for seven seasons and I shot a photo from this exact spot about 10 years ago.  I’ll have to dig it out and compare.

From time to time we become overwhelmed with the complexities of life and we get locked up, paralyzed, much like our computers do when we overwhelm the RAM memory.  When that happens to me, I look for a way to shock me out of the gridlock.  This photograph was exactly the Re-Boot that I needed yesterday, the right thing at the right time.

Once In A Blue Moon

Full Moon Over the Spanish Peaks and La Veta, Colorado

“Every Artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his pictures” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

There is something powerfully captivating about this land, where high alpine twin peaks stand alone between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains.  The Ute, Comanche and Apache tribes called these mountains the Huajatolla(breasts of the earth) and considered this aesthetically poetic region to be sacred.  Today, these mountains are known as the Spanish Peaks and artists are drawn here from all over the world to become inspired.

Two Ducks, Six Bears And The Misadventures Of A Landscape Photographer

Mr. and Mrs. Duck

First there is a warning quack, then a resounding quack-quack followed by the fluttering of wings.  “There goes Mr. and Mrs. Duck” Tammy will say and we watch the pair skim over the water in the same easterly direction.  And so the chain of events repeats itself, day in and day out as we take our daily walks.  Ahhh, summer in the mountains of Southern Colorado.

When I was a kid, I’d take an old shoe box, poke a hole in the end of it and tape a piece of black and white photo paper inside.  It always amazed me how I could miraculously produce a photograph using such simple tools.  Today, it amazes me that with all of the fancy equipment I can’t seem to get a wildlife image that looks much different from those pinhole camera pictures.  Shooting photographs or video of wildlife is an art form that I have not neither mastered.  I am persistent however and I have the desire, a combination that will eventually unlock the door to success.

So, back to that elusive pair of Ducks and the comical scene that unfolds each time I try to photograph them.  I’ve done everything shy of dressing in camouflage and building a duck blind to capture their image.  I have indeed, crawled through the grass on my belly and hidden behind a nearby shack a number of times.  Holding my camera in shooting position, I peer around the corner as if I’m an FBI agent on a drug raid.  “Quack…Quack Quack….Flutter Flutter”, they’re gone before I can take command of my focus ring.

Quack…Quack Quack…..Flutter Flutter

It seems as though the same scenario plays itself out no matter what the subject matter is.  Tammy and I drive everywhere with cameras ready and tripods extended for when and not if we see a heard of Elk, a Bear or a Mountain Lion.  The way it really seems to work is quite different from what we anticipate though.  In the past 7 days, we have seen a Blonde Male Bear, a Black Male Bear and a Momma Bear with three darling little Cubs.  When we see something really great there is an adrenaling rush and a very confusing attempt to communicate with one another that could easily lead to disaster.  “Stop” “Go” “Roll Down the Window” “ Move out of my way” “We need a new windshild” are the types of things you might hear in that moment.  It’s not uncommon for me to lose my mind and attempt to take pictures from a moving vehicle, while I am driving.  And then there are the times when we are whispering and moving very slowly to get into position.  I open the door with the key still in the ignition and the “ding-ding-ding” announces to the whole forest that we are there, larger than life.

So go easy on me when you judge these pictures.  They aren’t as easy to get as you might think.  You can bet that I will be bragging it up when I finally get that award winning wildlife shot.

It Really Is All Relative

Back in the day, somebody brought home this truck and they must have beamed with pride as the Colorado Sun glimmered and danced on the factory fresh chrome. Imagine the smell of the new upholstery and the feel of the transmission as it shifted from second to third. In all likelihood, at some point in time a happy couple went out for a Sunday drive in this truck and as they noticed an old wooden wagon, abandoned and leaning at the side of the road and they thought to themselves, “back in the day”.

My In-Laws out for a Sunday drive on the new Can-Am

Now, Imagine a line of wooden wagons climbing up Glorieta Pass on the Santa Fe Trail.  Despite the excitement that they must have been feeling as they traveled that last 20 miles, many of these folks parked their rigs and hoofed it up the hill to visit the impressive ruins of the ancient Pecos Indians.  Oh, how these weary travelers must have marveled at the ingenuity of those who accomplished so much without the “modern conveniences” that they had.

The Pecos Mission (circa 1600) on a hill next to the Santa Fe Trail

Last Saturday, en route home from a weekend getaway in Santa Fe I felt compelled to take the exit from I-25 to see what the Pecos National Historical Site was all about.  And as I walked about the ancient city on the hill, I thought to myself Wow, “back in the day”.

My Family in front of the Old Pecos Mission on a hill near I-25

Show And Tell

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” ~ E.E. Cummings

Welcome Home, You Painter’s Sky.  I’ve missed your graceful, billowing clouds, the way that they float silently across the front range of the Rockies and into the heartland.  I’ve missed your contrasts and your textures, especially the whitest whites against the cobalt depths of space.  I’ve missed the way that your shadows slip across the landscape, causing the dazzling colors of summer to flicker and dance. Welcome Home, You Painter’s Sky.

Please Check out my other blog and video’s at the

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An Easter Day Encounter With A Passionate Artist

“An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding:  And it is not to be found in foreign lands, but in the heart itself” ~ Robert Lewis Stevenson

If you follow my blog, you may be aware that I am in the midst of a dramatic life change.  It’s as if I am on a great journey, my vehicle is my own burning desire to add purpose to existence.  I am compelled to create and the fuel that carries me from one opportunity to the next is none other than good old high-octane inspiration.

Last Sunday was Easter and the weather was exceptional for this time of year in Colorado.  Tammy, my wife suggested that we make a short road trip to San Luis, the oldest town in the state, to hike the Stations of the Cross.  She had been there before and wanted to share it with me.  It was a great opportunity to film a video for our Local Tourist Colorado Series and fuel up on creative inspiration at the same time, off we went.

As we arrived in San Luis, it felt as if we had somehow been transported back in time and a long way south.  San Luis has the character of small village that you might find in Old Mexico.   Sunday Mass had just ended and a number of people were crossing Main Street and walking up the path to the Stations of the Cross Shrine, we followed.

It would be an understatement to say that the Stations of the Cross is an unexpected surprise.  For Christians, the hillside represents Mt. Calvary and the ¾ mile trail symbolically follows the footsteps of Jesus from Trial to Crucifixion to Resurrection.  For those who appreciate art, the Shrine is an absolute masterpiece.  This is a living gallery, the walls painted with stunning vistas of the San Luis Valley and it is certain to inspire anyone who experiences it, despite their spiritual beliefs or background.

How did this collaboration come about?  When was the Shrine built?  What chain of events brought the Sangre De Cristo Parish, The Knights of Columbus and world-renowned sculptor Huberto Maestas together?  Where does the artist live, who has created this portrayal of the Passion with such passion?

Back in town, we were shooting a few photographs.  A pickup truck came to a stop right in the middle of the quiet street.  A smiling, friendly looking fellow rolled down his window and struck up a conversation with us.  Would he mind answering a few short interview questions, give us a local’s perspective of San Luis, we asked.  He agreed and requested that we follow him to his studio.  There, he introduced himself with a gentle handshake and it quickly became apparent that we had met the man who could answer all of our questions.  The man was Huberto Maestas.

With a microphone clipped to his tee shirt, Huberto sat in front of our camera for just over an hour.  He spoke and we listened as he described in detail how the Stations of the Cross came to be, how he came to be an artist and about his warm feelings for his hometown and his Family.  His humility also made a deep impression on me, he never once mentioned that his work resides in the permanent Vatican collection in Rome.

The thing that most impressed me about Huberto Maestas, was his passion for art and his unwavering certainty of purpose in life.  He said “In this day and age you gotta pay bills, you have a mortgage, you gotta pay electric bills and it’s the last thing people need, a painting or a sculpture or something beautiful that you create to be around, but its what makes life easier, to have the things that make you happy.  I found a way to do that I suppose, or it was just something I learned, and If I were to retire tomorrow, or better yet win the lottery, I would put a heater in my shop and just continue to create.”

As it turned out on this Easter Sunday, I returned home with a full tank of inspiration and a stronger faith that I’m on the correct path and my course is true.  If you do what you love with all of your heart and if you actively take steps to get where you want to go, station by station in life the universe will open up doors that you never knew existed.

The next time you drive through San Luis, stop for a few hours, have lunch and walk through the Stations of The Cross.  Don’t forget to stop by Huberto’s Gallery and the Shrine Gift Shop.  Visit the Taos Artist guide for more information about Humberto and please watch our short video which includes the interview with him on

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After Monday And Tuesday, Even The Calendar Says WTF

April Fools Day came and went without a glitch.  For a change, the first of April completely snuck up on me and I failed to pull off a single stunt.  On the flipside, I was not on the receiving end either. The Kids(23, 21 and 20) were visiting for the weekend, we played frisbee golf on the property, had a bar-b-q and got sun burned.   Well, Today is the 3rd, and guess what?  Somebody put a slow burning fuse on a pretty good April Fools prank, three feet of snow and still coming down with a fury, boy did I get punked.

I usually try to refrain from profanity in my posts and all the more in a headline.  Today is the exception to the rule.  I know we need the moisture and this storm is an absolute Godsend as far as the wildfires and the farmers are concerned, but the truth is, I’m Mad as Hell about it and I’m not gonna take it anymore, I Want Summer!

I thought I’d write down some of the crazy thoughts that have gone through my mind and some of the things that have come out of my mouth so far this morning.  Enjoy.

–        (Laying in bed at sunrise) – “looks kind of cloudy outside.”

–        (First look out the window) – “OMG – Looks Like I’m gonna have to put the plow back on the four wheeler.”

–        “Hey, where IS the four wheeler?”

–        “Hey, where did I leave the plow?”

–        “My snow boots must be in the car.”

–        “Hey, where IS the car?”

–        “I don’t think the four wheeler could plow four feet of snow anyway.”

–        “Where are my keys?, oh yea, left them out on the deck next to the ….oh shit!”

–        “I’ll just cozy up and get some work done on the computer.”

–        “Did I really write a post called Two Springs Forward And One Spring Back just one week ago on the other blog,”

–        “I’ll write another post today called Spring Back, Way Back.”

–        “Why isn’t the satellite working?”

–        “Charlie (our dog) needs to go potty, c’mon Charlie lets dig our way over there.”

–        “Where did I leave that snow shovel?”

–        “%8&-#!^0, my back hurts.”

–        “Charlie..Charlie where are you?”

–        “Ok, where is that satellite dish?”

–        “What time are those 30 MPH winds suppose to start again?”

–        “Am I out of wine?”

–        “April showers bring May flowers, April showers bring May flowers, April showers bring May flowers.”

–        “I can use profanity in my posts every once in a while, can’t I?”

–        “The last thing I remember I was reading my Law of Attraction book, and then I was hoping it wouldn’t snow anymore.”

–        “I can’t wait for the temperature to get back in the 60’s the day after tomorrow?”

–        “I thought…maybe mud season was over”

–        “I sure am glad I graded out all those deep ruts in the driveway last week”

–        “I sure am glad we didn’t hide those Easter eggs in the yard.”

–        “Have they ever cancelled Easter?”

–        “Today is a good day to paint.”

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True Confessions Of A Creative Eclectic

Every Great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm ~ Emerson

Where was I when they passed out the roadmaps to creative success?  If that happened in Art School, I missed it because I was in the other building learning about statistics, debits and credits.  I’m not complaining.  In fact I feel fortunate that I wasn’t programmed with artistic shortcuts and principles as I was in business school. “Pick one thing that you like, do it well and you will succeed”.  The next time somebody hears me give that advise to one of my kids, I hope they slap me because I wouldn’t be walking the talk.  At times I feel so scattered, I don’t know what to do next.

As a blogger, I spend a lot of time reading the posts of others, looking for insights and inspiration.  Last week I read a post by JoDee Luna, the author of an innovative book called Refrain From The IdenticalAlmost immediately, I picked up on her description of the “Creative Eclectic” and I knew that she had coined a name for my affliction.

I am a Creative Eclectic.  About five years ago, I found myself enthusiastically pursuing a plethora of ambitions that I had neither the training nor the time for.  Sketching, painting, writing, producing videos and even making music on garage band began filling my free time and taking priority over getting a good night sleep.  Today, as you might gather from a visit to my websites and blogs, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  You might also realize that like a confident (or cocky) gambler, I’ve left behind my day job and I’m now “All In”.  I do have moments when I catch myself saying out-loud, “Am I Crazy?  This is never going to work!”  But somehow, some way, I know that it will all come together.  After all, the most beautiful symphonies have roots in madness.

As of late, I have a half dozen or so unfinished paintings hanging haphazardly in the studio and I’m excited to finish them.  But as life goes, you can only peel one potato at a time, and right now I’m working on my video business.  My wife and I together, have created a new blog called The Local Tourist – Colorado.  It is all about finding adventure in our own backyard and documenting those adventures through our video production enterprise.  We would love it if you would check it out.